Abe Peck. Uncovering the Sixties: The life and times of the underground press.
Citadel Press, New York, 1985, 1991

References to Avatar:

pp. 53-54

In other cities, acid communities were also reaching watersheds. Linda and Groovy, a tripping couple, were murdered on New York's Lower East Side. Hippies complained about the extensive media coverage, but the deed had happened. In Boston, acid authoritarianism was dominating a paper.
"I tell you I am the greatest man in the world and it doesn't trouble me in the least," wrote Mel Lyman in the Avatar, a clean-looking broadsheet that first appeared in June, 1967. The Avatar ran astrolo-chat, and sex, drug, and legal-defense news, all of which attracted attention in student-heavy Boston.
In the fall, the paper answered the arrests of some fifty of its streetsellers with a blistering centerfold of artfully drawn four-letter words that won a First Amendment battle and raised circulation. But the paper's core consisted of pronouncements from Lyman, who headed a cult of personality that lived communally in the city's Roxbury area. Lyman provided a unique version of objectivity: "I am the truth and I speak the truth," he proclaimed in a debut statement called "To All Who Would Know." "My understanding is tinged by no prejudice, no unconscious motivation, no confusion."
The Haight's ideal of self-actualization was proving hard to come by. Acidheads had reached out toward some Cosmic Force; now some were tumbling through the universe, and some found an anchor in charisma abetted by Psychoactive drugs, The Avatar chronicled Lyman's entry into that late-sixties growth industry, the Great Guru Sweepstakes. Soon he was writing as many as three rambling columns per issue, which were accompanied by pages of pained "Letters to Mel." When more news-oriented editors printed an issue without Lyman's endorsement, members of his Fort Hill commune seized and scrapped the 35,000 offending copies.
p. 112
...Gone is the San Francisco Oracle, gone to the hills; gone is the L.A. Oracle, off to the seashore; gone is the Boston Avatar.
p. 124
...Hadn't a disgruntled editor at Boston's Avatar just heisted and destroyed thirty-five thousand papers printed by a rival faction?
p. 126
..."By '68 some of us were real bored," Avatar acolyte and Crawdaddy founder Paul Williams says. "Even the New York Times was writing about rock 'n' roll..."


Mel Lyman